Imagine you win Saturday's Powerball Prize. You know, the one that's the largest sum of money ever available in the United States' history.
Do you think that $700 million would be enough to buy the island of Manhattan?
If you guessed no, you're right. $700 million wouldn't even come close to being enough to purchase the entire island of Manhattan.
So how much would? Go ahead, take a stab at it. How many dollars would one have to accrue to be able to purchase the whole island of Manhattan, all of the buildings, the apartments, the bars, restaurants, and hotels, for themselves?
Think about it. Owning all of Manhattan is a staggering thought. We can hardly imagine a number big enough, but three economists from Rutgers University could, and did, imagine that number.
The economists in question used vacant parcel sales to come up with the value for the island of Manhattan.
The number, charted in at $1.4 trillion, is almost 10% of the annual income of all of the United States.
That's right: in order to purchase Manhattan, one would need to come up with $1.4 trillion. So, they'd have to win the country's highest-ever lottery a whole bunch of times.
Of course, that number has risen over time. Land prices have risen at 15.8% a year every year since 1993.
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Tracing things all the way back to the days when Manhattan was a Dutch settlement in 1626, land prices have increased at a 6.4% annual rate of return over the last 388 years.
Needless to say, we'll be buying Manhattan very soon. We're kidding. We can barely afford our own little 900-square-foot slivers on the island every month.